The federal government must take care not to penalize religious expression, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., said in an interview aired Sunday, as religious groups crank up their objections to a mandate in the Obama administration’s health care law that requires free contraceptive coverage in health care plans.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl said the Church is reviewing Obama administration policies — most recently its proposed regulation to change the definition of “religious employers” to allow narrow exemptions to the contraceptive care rule.

“One of the things that our conference of bishop has done in response to some of the regulations and some of the difficulties that our Catholic institution are finding is to calls all of us to reflect again on the importance that in a pluralistic society, the importance of respecting the religious traditions, the religious freedom, the freedom of conscious of everyone,” Wuerl said.

“The church has always been the public effort to meet issues like feeding the hungry, providing care for people in need, the homeless, that we would always be a part of that, and to do that today we need to be all the more respectful of the freedom of conscience, the freedom of religious expression of everyone of us,” he continued.

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